Who Wrote the Book of Proverbs?

The first book of Proverbs announces, “These are the proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel” (compare Prov 10:1; 25:1). By its own testimony, though, the book of Proverbs had many authors: “These are the sayings of the wise [literally, wise ones]” (Prov 24:23). This same idea—that the proverbs in the book were written by a number of sages—is reiterated in Proverbs 1:6 and 22:17.

But old traditions die hard, and the authorship of these proverbs is still debated. What role did Solomon actually play in writing this Wisdom literature? [Read more…]

God Wasn’t Alone before He Created the World (Says the Bible)

As finite beings in a finite universe, it’s almost impossible for us to imagine what God was doing before time and matter as we know it was created. Was God alone? Was he adrift in a vast nothingness? Does the Bible give us any indication what life was like before the universe existed?

These are some of the questions that Dr. Michael S. Heiser (Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible and Semitic Languages at the University of Wisconsin-Madison) answers in his provocative and enlightening book The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible.

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Does God Need a Co-Signer?

We all know why co-signing a loan is required. The bank assumes that the person who is being loaned the money may not be able to repay it. Their commitment or ability is in question. In the Bible, God typically swears by his own character when entering a covenant since there is no one above him who needs to co-sign the agreement (Heb 6:13). There is a fascinating exception to this in the book of Psalms.

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The Elohim: What (or Who) Are They?

The following post explaining the origin of the Elohim is adapted from Dr. Michael Heiser’s The Unseen Realm.

We all have watershed moments in life, critical turning points where, from that moment on, nothing will ever be the same. One such moment in my own life came when I rediscovered the word elohim.

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Why Does the Bible Say God Battled Sea Monsters at Creation?

When we think of creation, we think of everything beginning with God’s spoken word—as Genesis 1 tells us. But some Old Testament writers concentrate on another aspect of creation—and a weird one at that. In Psalm 74, in the middle of God’s ordering of the sea and dry land, his establishing of the sun, moon, stars, and the seasons, we find another event: God destroying sea monsters.

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Did the Writer of Chronicles Try to Scrub Away David’s Dirty Past?

Corporations cook their books. Politicians get caught taking bribes. Scientists fudge data. Should the writer of Chronicles be judged the same way?

It’s widely known that the books of 1–2 Chronicles are a reiteration of the history of Israel found in the books of 1–2 Samuel and 1–2 Kings. What isn’t as well known is that the writer of Chronicles carefully and deliberately omits any negative material about David and Solomon from his historical record. Try to find the account of David’s adultery and murder of Uriah in 1 Chronicles—you won’t be able to.
Why would the Chronicler omit it?

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Think These Biblical Passages Contradict? Not So Fast.

Photo by Luke Palmer on Unsplash

One of the more vexing problems in the Old Testament is how to parse the parallel accounts of 1  Chronicles 21:1–17 and 2 Samuel 24:1–25.

1 Chronicles 21:1–2:

Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, ‘Go, number Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, and bring me a report, that I may know their number.’

2 Samuel 24:1–25:

Again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, ‘Go, number Israel and Judah.’ So the king said to Joab, the commander of the army, who was with him, ‘Go through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and number the people, that I may know the number of the people.’

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The Important Detail We Forget about the Story of Naaman

Elisha’s healing of Naaman the leper, commander of the army of the king of Syria, is a familiar story to many (2 Kgs 5:1–27). Naaman hears that Elisha, the prophet of Israel, can heal him, so he makes the trip. When the two meet, Elisha tells him rather dismissively that he needs to take a bath in the Jordan River. Naaman doesn’t take this well and prepares to go home. At the behest of some servants, he consents to dip himself in the Jordan. He is miraculously healed by the simple act. The display of power, so transparently without sacrifice or incantation, awakens Naaman to the fact that Yahweh of Israel is the true God. Here’s where the story usually ends in our telling, but that would result in the omission of one very odd detail—what Naaman asks to take back home.

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Even in the Bible, Good Doesn’t Always Win

When exposed to evil, we might doubt God’s presence. Soldiers’ accounts and memoirs often recall times of doubt as they grappled with war, atrocity and, ultimately, the struggle between good and evil. While Scripture is clear that good will triumph, it also says evil will win its share of battles. Second Kings 3 records a war event where evil won.

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Goliath Isn’t the Only Giant in the Bible. Here’s Where They Came From.

If they haven’t read it, most people have at least heard the story of David and Goliath of Gath (“the Gittite”). The names of the hero and villain have iconic status. But how many people know anything about the giant Goliath, other than that he lost his head to a boy named David from Israel?

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